Plain and simple, I consider the importance of having correct environmental policies to be on par with the importance of our military. Both go in the category of we cannot take chances. Without being strong in both areas our daily life and economic future will be threatened. I am by no means a scientist, but from what I understand, the overwhelming body of evidence from scientists is that man’s activity is influencing our climate. Regrettably, there has been a lot of politics played with this issue. Historically, nations that lead the way on major fuel and energy sources were better positioned for the future. No one knows this better than Minnesotans. Unfortunately, it is a misrepresentation of reality to tell people we can go back to the old technologies and energies. It is not going to happen. I would never suggest, and I don’t know who could, that coal and gasoline can go away overnight. Despite that, we need to plan and develop the new technologies and not fight it, but embrace it, to make the transition. The rest of the world is rapidly making those transitions and my fear is we are falling behind. This problem/opportunity is something we must lead rather than wishing we could retreat to yesterday. Not only can we do it, we must do it. We owe it to ourselves and our children. Let’s get at it.
As strong as I am on not taking risks with the environment it does not mean we can’t do thoughtful development and industrial work at the same time we protect our environment. As an example, we can and must find a way to continue mining in Minnesota. Minnesota needs it and America needs it. Our scientists and regulatory people need to find the way to make it happen. At times there is a burdening regulatory process from mining, the financial sector, and infrastructure development which can be ridiculous. It should not take 12 years to get a permit to build a bridge. In our protection process we must have protocols in place from the EPA, State, and other agencies. Their process of evaluation, while perhaps not always perfect, should be respectfully considered. We need to be safe in this area but not be irrational.